Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 9/23/14
Female boxers proved themselves to be the equals of their male counterparts once again in London Wednesday. The standouts were Irish lightweight Katie Taylor and American middleweight Claressa Shields, who are now both firm favourites for gold. Flyweight Nicola Adams of Great Britain proved herself worthy of the home crowd's affection in an earlier bout against Indian hero Mary Kom. Overall it was another great night of action from the women and I, for one, can't wait for the Finals.


(Claressa Shields, left, trades punches with Marina Volnova; photo via the Olympics website)

Flyweight – 51lg/112.4lb

Ren Cancan vs. Marlene Esparza: China's Cancan and the USA's Esparza didn't do much to separate themselves from one another, with Cancan winning the first two rounds 3-2 and 4-2, respectively. It was a highly technical affair and both boxers spent most of it bouncing on their toes. Esparza took the 3rd round but it wasn't enough, with Ren winning the bout 10-8 with nothing really in it.

Nicola Adams vs. Mary Kom: The second flyweight semifinal pitted two crowd favourites against one another. England's Adams used her much superior reach to control the fight going forward, but also got the better of exchanges up close. Indian multiple world champion Kom just couldn't turn determination into points and gamely lost 6-11.

Lightweight – 60kg/132.2lb

Katie Taylor vs. Mavzuna Chorieva: Irish phenom Katie Taylor was considered a shoe-in to win the gold at lightweight before the tournament started and she's done nothing to disavow that status. Though Tajikistan's Chorieva landed some solid punches and showboated like a female, Tajik Sugar Ray Leonard, she was never really in this fight and lost 17-9.

Sofya Ochigava vs. Adriana Araujo: To my eye, this fight had nothing in it. If it were a pro fight, Brazil's Adriana Araujo would have won. Her punches were harder, but Ochigava's were more numerous and impressed the judges. In the end the Russian took it 17-11. Still, in the end they kissed and it was quite touching, even for this old correspondent.

Middleweight – 75kg/165.3lb

Claressa Shields vs. Marina Volnova: Best bout of the Olympics so far, men's or women's. Just a pleasure watching the American 17-year-old work. Not that Kazakhstan's Volnova did anything wrong. Shields just did everything right, winning the exchanges she initiated and those she was forced into on the ropes. Volnova was forced to take two standing eight counts, one in the 3rd round and another in the 4th as Shields really tried to knock her woman out. The score was a formality, with the American winning 29-15 and becoming the favourite to take the gold. At the end of the bout BBC commentator Lucy O'Conner said that we might be watching the birth of a future superstar. It's hard to disagree.

Nadezda Torlopova vs. Jinzi Li: In what was a slight letdown after the excitement of the preceding bout, China's Jinzi Li was outlasted by Russia's Nadezda Torlopova in what began as a technical bout but finished as a wrestling match. Li led early but slipped a little in the 3rd round as she tired. The naturally bigger Torlopova took over in the 4th, forcing Li to take a standing eight count and bullying her around the ring to win 12-10. I'd heavily favour Shields for the gold.
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